Dealing with a fatal accident is likely the worst nightmare of any individual or family who has lost a loved one. Whether it was a car accident that produced fatal injuries, a dangerous property condition that took a life or some other scenario, the aftermath can be devastating.
In the state of Delaware, like other states, certain parties can pursue compensation for wrongful death. What is a wrongful death? The Delaware Code defines a wrongful act as an act, an incident of neglect or a default that would have – under state law – permitted the injured party to sue for personal injury if death had not occurred. In other words, a wrongful act is one which, were it not for the actual death, would have entitled the harmed party to bring forth a personal injury suit. In such situations the victim’s family may explore a wrongful death suit in order to obtain compensation and hold negligent parties accountable.
If a wrongful act has caused someone’s death, the family is likely to wonder who is liable. This may not be obvious, as there can be multiple parties responsible for a wrongful act which caused a death. In some incidents, such as countless car accidents, the legal action may be brought against a single responsible individual. Interestingly, under Delaware law action can also be brought against a vessel – in a coastal state like Delaware, this may be pertinent to some families’ circumstances.
Action may also be brought against the personal representative of a deceased individual who committed the wrongful act which led to death. This is commonly seen in vehicle accident cases in which the negligent or reckless individual also died in the crash, but it can apply to other types of fatal accidents as well. A Wilmington wrongful death attorney can explain who is liable for a wrongful death and offer legal advice to local families.
Source: Delaware Code Online, “Chapter 17: Survival of Actions and Causes of Action; Wrongful Death Actions,” accessed Feb. 10, 2016